University Police officials have decided to discontinue doubled evening and early morning patrols, in place since a November crime wave, saying that the immediate threat of crime in the area has been substantially reduced. The police returned to normal patrols over Winter Break and administrators said there are no plans for them to be doubled again in the near future. Since mid-November, officers on two of the force's three shifts had been working extended 12-hour shifts as well as one extra day per week, effectively doubling patrols on campus during nighttime hours. The extra manpower was instituted after a series of violent crimes hit campus. During a two month period at the beginning of last semester, three students were stabbed, one was critically injured during a robbery attempt, and a University Police officer fired his gun when four men attempted to rob him and his partner. The return to normal patrols was expected. When the extra duties were instituted in November, police as well as University administrators insisted that the increase in patrols were emergency measures that would continue only until the number of crimes decreased over an extended period of time. Police Captain John Richardson said Monday that the current amount of crime does not require a prolonged increase in police patrols. He added, however, that University Police will use several recently-hired officers to permanently increase the amount of officers on each shift. These new officers will raise the number on patrol during normal periods, but patrols will be substantially smaller than during November and December, the police captain said. "I want people to be safety conscious and not safety unconscious," he said. "As long as people remain cautious of their surroundings, I would like to believe that we now have a safer environment and that the fear of crime is less." "This is no longer a band-aid solution," he added. "This is a permanent solution." Eight police officers were added to the force recently and seven more are about to join. In addition, eight cadets now in the police academy will join the force upon graduation. Also, four other officers will be transferring to University police from their previous jobs with other police departments. According to Jeffrey Jacobson, co-chairperson of the University Council Safety and Security Committee, stopping the doubled patrols should not lead to the return of crime to the area. "Although the double patrols have stopped, the criminals now know that if they commit a crime on campus, in all likelihood they will be caught," Jacobson said. "We tried to convey a message to the criminals in the area," the College junior added. "I feel that that message is still out there." He noted, however, that the doubled patrols could be put back in place if necessary. "We can reinstitute the patrols easily and at a moment's notice," Jacobson said. President Sheldon Hackney has said that security is the University's top priority, and Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said in November that the administration is dedicated to solve the problem no matter what the cost.Comments powered by Disqus
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